The Green Lotus Peasant GirlChapters List
Chapter 61: Mother and Daughter
It was not until the beginning of March that the two pig pens were built. There were people in the village who raised pigs, so Zhou Chengkang went to them to get six pigs. Generally speaking, if there hadn’t been so many women in the house, they wouldn’t be feeding so many pigs. The pigs were left to eat only grass every day.
The people who were aware of their family situation, such as Li Fu and Mrs. Zhou, did not stop them.
Over there, the wheat fields and sweet potato sprouts were lush and green. Although they didn't know if there would be a harvest, they could still cut the seedlings and bring them back to feed the pigs.
Now that the pigs didn’t need to be fed very often, they were much freer. Every time there was a big fair in the town, they bought chickens, so this year they had more chickens than last year. A special room was built for the chicks. Many of them were purchased, and in total, nearly two hundred chickens were being raised.
Soon, news of Zhang Haiyao's delivery came from the Zhou family. Both mother and daughter were safe.
Because she had just given birth and Li Qinghe had plenty of eggs at home, she counted thirty and sent them to her. Her village, however, didn’t celebrate the child washing ceremony*, only the full moon ceremony**.
In a blink of an eye, it was March 27, the day before the Yang family's housewarming. According to village rules, villagers were to go one day in advance to help. Li Qinghe and Zhou Chengkang were no exception. They passed through the chicken-raising wasteland and took half an hour to walk around to the other side. When the time came, many people arrived at the Yangs’ house.
Li Qinghe met a lot of people she knew, because she had hired them to build a house and clean up the land. In addition, Yu Yan and Third Aunt Li were there, so she didn't feel bored and went to the kitchen to help prepare the dishes as well.
For these happy events in the village, whenever she went to help, she was asked to cut vegetables. Even if someone was already cutting them, after seeing her come, they would give up the position and assume that she would get the work done quickly.
Li Qinghe was not modest, and Yu Yan was preparing the vegetables to be cut beside her. The room was very lively.
It was bustling when Mrs. Qian arrived at the kitchen door. "Is there anything I can do to help?”
Mrs. Qian and Li Fu's reputation in the village was poor, all because the two had been involved even before they got married. However, it had been a long time, and most people would only talk about them in private and not say anything to her directly. Aunt Li waved her hand and said, "Come here and pick vegetables."
Li Qinghe didn't pay any attention to her. Yu Yan beside her whispered, "Actually, I didn't want to come."
At that, Li Qinghe thought deeply. Because she had saved Xu Changjie, rumors spread among the villagers that she held deep affection for him. Even Yu Yan, who really did have a relationship with Xu Changjie, didn’t usually feel that way. However, on a day like this, if she didn’t come, others would think that she was deliberately not coming.
She whispered again, "You said it's all like that, how come you're not engaged yet?"
Li Qinghe was deeply affected by this question. In fact, the relationship between men and women was still considered very simple in the villagers' minds. As long as they both got married, there wouldn’t be people spreading rumors indiscriminately.
It was just that Xu Changjie was not married yet. Li Qinghe was okay; she had been married for a year, and there were no children, but her days were pretty good. Nobody would speak ill of her and Xu Changjie. However, Yu Yan refused to settle for any random person, so this made things a bit awkward.
But today she had come here in good faith, and no one should be talking about those things in the future.
"I really regret it," Yu Yan said. "Why did I think he was good-looking at first? Now when I look at him, he's just average-looking."
Li Qinghe followed her eyes and saw Xu Changjie in the yard. With the scar on his face gone, his former gentleness and handsomeness had been restored, and many girls in the village secretly looked at him and blushed.
Now that she looked at him, there were no changes in her heart. "He really is just average-looking."
Just like when she had held her housewarming gathering, the dishes prepared today were for tomorrow and wouldn’t be cooked now. Everyone who helped had to eat in the old courtyard of the Yang family, which was next door to Xu Changjie's house.
When it was time for dinner, a mighty group of 70 or 80 people went to the village. Li Qinghe and Zhou Chengkang walked together without speaking, and they saw the familiar courtyard in a blink of an eye.
This was the first time she had come in the daytime. The last time she was there was to report a letter. At that time, the sky was bright, and she was anxious to go to the town to help, so she didn't look carefully at all, and she was a little afraid to look carefully. When passing by the Xus’ house, Li Qinghe glanced in, only to feel familiarity and unfamiliarity everywhere. Her eyes fell to the woodshed in the corner, where she had died after being dosed with medicine in her previous life.
Zhou Chengkang seemed to be a little nervous. He stretched out his hand to hold her, and asked, "What's wrong?"
His hands were warm, and Li Qinghe regained her senses. "It's okay."
When they arrived at the Yangs’ family house, she felt a sense of familiarity everywhere, and she still remembered the inside and outside of the yard. Everywhere she looked, she could see Xu Chengjie looking at Yang Lanrou with a gentle expression.
But seeing the person next to her, she quickly regained her senses and thought that she had nothing to do with the two of them, and she didn’t have to think so much anymore.
Today's food was generally ordinary, but the Yang family's food was pretty good, and it could almost be compared to other people's formal wedding banquets. Li Qinghe and Zhou Chengkang weren't short of meat and fish, so they didn't feel special.
After eating, everyone went back to the Yang family's new house. Li Qinghe helped to prepare the dishes and went back to her home. Since she had to feed the horses and pigs, as well as chickens and fish, she had several reasons to leave early.
Li Fu followed her back to her house and helped her feed.
Li Qinghe fed the chicken and asked Li Fu, who was helping at the side, "Did Aunt Qian mention again that she wanted to raise a child?"
Li Fu shook his head and thought for a moment. "Can I come and stay for a few days?"
Li Qinghe was a little surprised by his request. It was normal for the father-in-law to go to his son-in-law's house for two days, but the two families were so close to each other that it made no difference where they lived.
"Your Aunt Qian, she…" Li Fu looked embarrassed. "No, if I can’t, forget it."
Li Qinghe felt that perhaps something had happened between the two again. "No, you can stay." But she was also curious, so she lowered her voice and asked, "Because of what?"
"She still wants to have a baby," Li Fu answered quickly.
He said in a low voice and spoke quickly. Li Qinghe almost didn't hear him clearly. After she understood him she was speechless.
People in their 30s were all at the age of being grandmothers and Mrs. Qian actually wanted to have a child now? She couldn't help but ask, "Is it because she wants the child to have the surname Qian?"
Li Fu shook his head. "I didn't ask. "
"Having children as an old man isn’t an embarrassment for me, I just have to figure out a way to make ends meet. But if I have a child now, I'll be afraid to die when my time comes. Besides, I haven't had children in so many years…"
He hesitated, perhaps sensing that it would not be appropriate to say this in front of his daughter. "I’ll come to stay for two days. She’ll understand what I'm saying, that's all. And while I'm here, I'll help you chop the wood."
Li Qinghe laughed. Was it really necessary to work to eat? The father and daughter were not strangers. She said, "You'd better chop wood for yourself. Come over for dinner and sleep here at night."
On the next day, the Yang family hosted a housewarming party, and Li Qinghe went over to eat and help wash dishes before returning. Anyway, they now had a relationship of ordinary neighbors.
After that, Li Fu brought clothes and quilts and moved into her house. Seeing his daughter's busy schedule both inside and outside the house, he took the initiative to help feed the fish and the chickens.
The weather gradually warmed up, and Li Qinghe finally had some free time. There were more and more sweet potato sprouts over the fields, almost filling in the gaps in the wheat, which looked pretty good.
She thought about the past all the way and was in a good mood. Today, she deliberately went back to the Zhou house to take a look. In a few days, it would be the full moon ceremony of Zhang Haiyao's daughter.
When Li Qinghe arrived at the Zhou family’s house, she found two carriages outside the courtyard. She was puzzled at first, and then remembered that maybe it was the Zhang family who had come.
It was indeed the Zhang family. The people who came were Zhang Haiyao's biological mother and her uncle. And to her surprise, Mrs. Xu was also among them.
(T/N: Mrs. Xu is Li Qinghe's mother.)
Seeing her entering the door, Mrs. Xu greeted her and took her hand. "I was going to go your house to find you later, and take a look at your new house along the way."
Li Qinghe was also very happy to see her, mainly because Mrs. Xu didn’t come back often, and she didn’t want to go to the Zhangs’ house. The mother and daughter could only see each other a few times a year.
She also saw Mrs. Xu beckoning to a child. "Bin'er, come here."
This was Zhang Haiya, Li Qinghe's half-brother. He was eight years old this year, and reached her shoulders. He had a small face with a steady expression.
He approached and bowed towards Li Qinghe, "Sister. "
Li Qinghe had been unfamiliar with this younger brother for two lifetimes. Seeing him so polite, and looking sensible, she felt gratified. When he grew up, Mrs. Xu's life in the Zhang family should be better. She couldn't help but smile as she said, "Bin'er, come take a look at my house, okay?"
She talked to Mrs. Zhou and took Mrs. Xu and Bin'er to her home. In the yard, Li Fu was mixing pig food. Seeing the three of them entering the door, he was taken aback for a moment, and then returned to his senses. "You're here? This is…"
"My son." Mrs. Xu's tone was ordinary, and she walked around the yard.
After the mother and son walked far, Li Fu asked in a low voice, "Why is your mother here?"
Li Qinghe said, "She came to see my third sister-in-law, so she stopped by to take a look." Mrs. Xu usually did not return to the village without any reason.
The mother and son stood beside the chicken pen in the backyard, and Mrs. Xu praised it. "This house is very good. Bin'er, what do you think?"
Bin'er watched the chickens inside in amusement. At the end of the day, he was still a child. Seeing these for the first time was quite a novelty for him.
Seeing that he was interested, Mrs. Xu smiled. "You watch them, and I will go into the house with your sister to talk. I will come get you later, or if you have seen them enough, you can also come to find me."
Seeing Bin'er agree, Mrs. Xu took back her hand and walked in. She looked at Li Fu outside, and asked in a low voice, "Why is your father here?"
Li Qinghe was dumbfounded. She couldn't say that Li Fu was avoiding Mrs. Qian because she insisted on having a child, could she?
After thinking about it, she said, "Father is fine. He came over to help me feed the pigs."
Mrs. Xu sneered. "He only has you as a child, so he should be treating you better, otherwise no one will collect his corpse for him in the future. And… even if you die before him, he will only know how to cry. I'm afraid you can't count on him."
Li Qinghe thought for a while and thought it was really possible.
Mrs. Xu took out a purse. "You built a house, and have such a big business. I'm afraid that the money is not enough for the turnover. Just keep this."
As she spoke, she shoved the purse into Li Qinghe's hands.
Li Qinghe squeezed it in her hand. There were a few taels of silver in it. She sighed and handed it back to Mrs. Xu. " I can still get by on my side. Keep this silver for Bin'er's education. Last year, my sister-in-law told me that Uncle Zhang did not allow Bin'er to study, and her father helped mediate."
After hearing this, Mrs. Xu frowned. "Nothing of the sort. Did she really say that?"
Li Qinghe nodded. "She also borrowed silver from me, but didn't say anything about returning it."
Today, Mrs. Xu was able to come to her home to congratulate Zhang Haiyao, proving that Mrs. Xu had a good relationship with Zhang Haiyao's mother, and it was necessary to let her know about these things Zhang Haiyao was doing behind her back.
*A "child washing ceremony" is a very important ceremony in the ancient Chinese birth ceremonies. On the third day after the baby is born, relatives and friends gather together to congratulate the new mother. The purpose of this ceremony is to remove filth, eliminate disasters, and avoid disasters.
** The "full moon ceremony" originates from ancient Chinese culture, and was celebrated when the baby survived the first month of their life, which meant that they were more likely to survive into adulthood.
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